Victory in Court

From the March-April 1999 Trumpet Print Edition

Time will prove that we have just won the most important court battle in this modern age! We have been battling the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) for over two years.

Just before his death on January 16, 1986, Herbert W. Armstrong published Mystery of the Ages. He wanted to reach “the largest audience possible.” The WCG began to change the book’s text immediately after his death. Two years later, they stopped publishing it. So we decided to publish Mystery of the Ages in early 1997, believing it was our right to give it free to the public as the author desired.

This book is a summary of Mr. Armstrong’s life work. But that didn’t matter to the WCG. They have already changed all the major doctrines Mr. Armstrong taught.

They hate the book’s message and want to keep the public from even reading it!

In his 1997 book, Transformed By Truth, WCG Pastor General Joseph Tkach Jr. wrote: “In February 1997 we filed suit against the Philadelphia Church of God—one of our splinter groups headquartered in Edmond, Oklahoma—to block the republication of Mystery of the Ages. The Worldwide Church of God still holds the copyright to this book, and we contend that no one else has the right to publish it. We feel it is our Christian duty to keep this book out of print…because we believe Mr. Armstrong’s doctrinal errors are better left out of circulation” (p. 203).

On February 8, Judge J. Spencer Letts ruled that Mystery of the Ages was published by its author to be shared with the world. The WCG, he said, has no right to withhold this work from publication. Judge Letts also said “a copyright doesn’t exist for what they want to do.” He also said Mr. Armstrong “never intended the copyright to stop Mystery of the Ages from going to the public.”

He got to the intent of the author and the spirit of the law. A copyright law is supposed to protect the author’s work—not destroy it! The author “had Mystery of the Ages copyrighted on condition of the Church not rejecting his doctrine,” the judge stated profoundly. “The copyright will not trump the nature of Herbert Armstrong’s work. A copyright can’t triumph over the foundation of religion,” he said.

The WCG was using the copyright to try and stop our religion. Under the cloak of “Christian duty,” they wanted to destroy the U.S. Constitution, as it relates to this case! They had already destroyed the constitution of the Church that Mr. Armstrong founded!

This case reveals to everybody how vile and destructive their attitude is. Now the whole world can see what we have been fighting against for a decade.

Nearly two-thirds of the WCG members have been driven out of that church since Mr. Armstrong died. The leaders kept all the property, with an estimated value of around $250 million. Of course that wealth was created by all of the members while Mr. Armstrong was alive.

We not only won an overwhelming victory, the judge thought the WCG was violating our freedom of speech—a fundamental Constitution issue. He said, “Religion is the highest order of free speech.”

Mr. Armstrong believed Mystery of the Ages was the most important book on this earth after the Bible. (Please write for a free copy if you don’t have one.) Time will prove Mr. Armstrong to be right. If we can learn that lesson today, it will prevent unparalleled suffering in our lives.

Soon the whole world will understand how important this great book is. Then the Bible will no longer be a mystery to man.